“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” said Japanese defense minister Taro Kono.
Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that he has not seen any intelligence indicating Iran was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, contradicting Saudi and Trump administration claims about the incident.
“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Kono said during a press briefing. “We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.”
The only evidence the Trump administration has released to substantiate its claim of Iranian responsibility are satellite photos that experts said are not clear enough to assign blame. Ret. Gen. Mark Hertling, a CNN intelligence analyst, said the images “really don’t show anything, other than pretty good accuracy on the strike of the oil tanks.”
Kono said Japan, an ally of both Iran and the U.S., is still in the process of determining who was behind the attacks, which were allegedly carried out by drones.
“Given Japan’s strong ties with the U.S. based on the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and the relationship of trust that Japan has with various countries located in the Middle East, Japan is in a position to fulfill a mediating role,” said Kono.
The defense minister’s statement is the second time this year Japan has contradicted the Trump administration’s attempt to pin an attack on Iran with insufficient evidence. In June, as Common Dreams reported, the Trump administration blamed Iran for an explosion that damaged a Japanese oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Yutaka Katada, president of the Japanese company that owns the tanker, publicly disputed the White House’s account of the attack.
Japan is not the only major nation to express skepticism about the Trump administration’s rush to blame Iran for the attacks, which briefly paralyzed Saudi oil production and sent crude prices soaring.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday that he is not aware of evidence demonstrating Iranian involvement, despite claims by U.S. and Saudi officials.
“Up to now France doesn’t have proof permitting it to say that these drones came from such and such a place, and I don’t know if anyone has proof,” said Le Drian. “We need a strategy of de-escalation for the area, and any move that goes against this de-escalation would be a bad move for the situation in the region.”
‘Worse than Obama’: Lindsey Graham has full-blown freak out over Trump’s latest Syria statements
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday had a full-blown freak out after President Donald Trump publicly said that the Turkish slaughter of the Kurds in northern Syria was not America's problem.
Writing on Twitter, the senator had his harshest condemnation yet of the president's decision to abruptly pull American troops out of Syria while giving Turkey a green light to invade the area.
"I hope President Trump is right in his belief that Turkeys invasion of Syria is of no concern to us, abandoning the Kurds won’t come back to haunt us, ISIS won’t reemerge, and Iran will not fill the vacuum created by this decision," Graham wrote. "However, I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq."
Trump spirals into deranged conspiracy theory when asked about Giuliani: ‘I want to see the server’
President Donald Trump on Wednesday blurted out a nearly incomprehensible conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.
During an Oval Office meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, reporters asked Trump if he expected former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify to the House impeachment inquiry.
Trump sidestepped the question and launched into a rant about "corruption" in the 2016 election.
"Giuliani was seeking out corruption in the 2016 election," the president said. "There was tremendous corruption in that 2016 election. It was disgraceful what happened and what happened to me and what happened to the Republicans."
Ohio voter purge targets state’s League of Women Voters head
Ohio’s government admitted that nearly 20 percent of voters targeted in the state’s looming purge of “inactive” were actually active voters.
Earlier this year, the Ohio secretary of state’s office issued a list of 235,000 names targeted for removal from the voter rolls because, the state purported, they had not participated in the last three election cycles. The purge is part of an effort to remove names of people who have passed away or moved. The state is required to send notices to people it plans to remove to give them a chance to verify that they should still be on the rolls.